PANAMA CITY BEACH, FL (WJHG/WCEP) Will we be seeing youth baseball being played on local ball fields come this summer?
Will Grand Slam Tournaments still take place in PCB this summer?
Larry Thompson says he's cautiously optimistic his tournaments will happne in June and July in Panama City Beach. Larry is the Owner and CEO of Grand Slam baseball, which runs youth baseball and softball tournaments in a dozen states stretching to Indiana and New York.
That includes four week long baseball tournaments in P-C-B stretching from mid-June to late July.
"Well at this point Scott we're just full speed ahead, getting prepared to play our four weeks of World Series, starting with the week of June 15th." Larry told me via Skype Monday afternoon. "Now of course, with that said, we're also at the mercy of the State of Florida, as well as local government officials, the TDC. And we're staying in contact with them on a regular basis and we're raring to go. We're just waiting for that green light so we can host baseball and welcome people to Panama City Beach."
Larry says he and his staff have been working diligently to figure out how to host safe tournaments in the midst of this pandemic.
"I think the best thing we've done is we've looked at a lot of other organizations and kind of pooled together ideas and research. I've talked to a lot of my friends in other states and other organizations, trying to figure out what they're doing and there are a lot of safety precautions that we're working to put into place. To keep social distancing at the ballparks. And some of those include but not limited to, playing on every other field. Or having spectators lined up in the outfield and down the lines instead of directly behind home plate."
And Larry adds, sanitizing the baseballs every half inning, things like that.
Even with the safety concerns, it does appear if the events get the go-ahead, the teams, the players and their families, will come! As of Monday his site shows hundreds of teams have signed up, and Larry says it's obvious they are anxious to play.
"It is amazing how many people call me, text me, email me every day, 'hey are you still playing this summer? We cannot wait to come down. We are tired of being at home, we want to be outside. We want to have recreation. We want to have exercise.' So yeah it's crazy the number of teams I'm hearing from. And yeah we've had quite a few drop out that we had originally lined up."
Those dropping out Thompson says are mainly due to financial strain caused by the state of the economy, and not because they fear traveling or playing the games.
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